The Climate Emergency is introducing humanity to our new, hellish reality with frightening speed. We had every warning possible, but we did not listen. Now, humanity must reap what it has sewn. “The global warming caused by human activities has resulted in a climate emergency that … demands a national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States at a massive-scale.” reads Ocasio-Cortez’s draft of the Climate Emergency resolution.
Loughborough University climate scientist Dr. Tom Matthews discusses our new frightening world in The Conversation. Dr. Matthews presents to us the disturbing science of “wet bulb” temperatures. In essence, when it’s both too hot and too humid, the body becomes incapable of producing sweat and thus cannot cool itself. Once this temperature is achieved, death will occur in hours unless you can escape to cooler locations.
“The wet bulb temperature includes the cooling effect of water evaporating from the thermometer, and so is normally much lower than the normal (“dry bulb”) temperature reported in weather forecasts,” He writes. “Once this wet bulb temperature threshold is crossed, the air is so full of water vapour that sweat no longer evaporates,” Dr. Matthews elaborates on the consequences, “Without the means to dissipate heat, our core temperature rises, irrespective of how much water we drink, how much shade we seek, or how much rest we take,”
While humans are currently spared from wet bulb temperatures (having only been measured in the warmest regions of the planet), the animals we share the Earth with are not so lucky. Recently, more than 200 reindeer were found dead in the arctic of starvation. Why’d they starve? The Svalbard reindeer are some of the first victims of the Climate Emergency. The Guardian reports:
“Ashild Onvik Pedersen, the head of the census, said the high degree of mortality was a consequence of climate crisis, which according to climate scientists, is happening twice as fast in the Arctic as the rest of the world. ‘Climate change is making it rain much more. The rain falls on the snow and forms a layer of ice on the tundra, making grazing conditions very poor for animals,’ she said. In winter, Svalbard reindeer find vegetation in the snow using their hooves, but alternating freezing and thawing periods can create layers of impenetrable ice, depriving the reindeers of nourishment.”The Guardian
As the Earth spirals into potentially irreversible chaos, governments and corporations alike are telling us to calm down. China is on track to meet its climate change mitigation goals, and many other countries are celebrating small successes as well. But scientists say it’s simply not enough.
Even so, CEO of BP, the infamous oil company responsible for the Deepwater Horizon incident, Bob Dudley thinks climate activists are being too polarizing. He told CNBC “I don’t think it helps anything to demonize companies or groups. It gets society polarized and it is really hard to move through big complex problems when you set that up.”
So, as we reach deadly wet bulb temperatures, please do remember not to trouble the billionaires too much. We wouldn’t want to make their lives difficult.